It was believed that even some teams that struggled could take some solace in a District 8-5A alignment that had to be among the toughest in the state.
But, the alignment is 1-2 in the postseason. Plano’s chance will come today.
Plano (7-3), making its 46th playoff appearance and fourth straight, meets Coppell (10-0) for the first time at 1 p.m. today at Coppell. That’s generally bad news for Plano’s opponents. The Wildcats hold a 37-8 record in the opening round of the playoffs and have not been ousted from the playoffs in the opening round since 1999, when it drew a Mesquite opponent en route to a state semifinal appearance.
The winner draws Duncanville (8-3) in an area playoff at 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium. Plano has eliminated Duncanville from the playoffs in each of the past two seasons.
First though, Plano must get past Coppell, the District 7-5A champion. The team finished ahead of Denton Guyer and Southlake Carroll, which is no small feat, in district play.
The Coppell defense gets the team started. It has not sacrificed more than 20 points all season, or more than 17 since district play began. Offensively, Cam Daniel leads Coppell with 1,584 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns. Joe Minden adds 2,252 yards passing and 18 touchdowns. Tyler Landis has 748 yards receiving on 51 receptions. Coppell ranks as the No. 2 offense in the area, trailing Flower Mound. It has the fourth-leading defense.
Plano, meanwhile, will be after its 90th playoff victory and seventh straight opening-round victory today. The offense has the capability to hang with anyone, evidenced earlier this season when it faced Flower Mound. It begins with quarterback Connor Michelsen (136-for-240, 2,069 yards), who has a combined 31 rushing, passing and receiving scores. Murat Kuzu and Kevin Merrill share rushing chores. They have combined to compile 1,133 yards rushing and 1,651 all-purpose offensive yards this season. Brandon Hamilton has 700 yards and 7 touchdowns on 32 receptions to lead all Plano receivers this season.
Get set for today’s game. See Plano’s offensive totals and its averages. You can note the success Plano has had this season when it controls the rushing game and check in on the last time it happened. View Plano’s all-time playoff results, notable facts about the program and check in with Plano’s coaches. The AP poll has Coppell ranked No. 6, but Matt Wixon, the top picker in the Dallas Morning News’ staff selections, picks Plano and he might know what he’s talking about based on one upset he went alone on already this week.